Long Lost Family star fights back tears recounting mistreatment at Catholic orphanage that erased his family identity | The Sun

A GUEST on last night’s episode of Long Lost Family struggled to hold back tears as he explained how his entire identity was erased at birth by the Catholic Church. 

Arthur Fitzharris appeared on a special episode of the show which examined false identities after learning that his biological parents had been erased from his birth certificate. 

Presented by Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell, Long Lost Family helps to reunite close relatives after years of separation. 

Davina, 55, and Nicky, 62, met with Arthur to help him in his two decades-long search for his biological parents. 

Unfortunately, his search yielded more questions than answers, and retired financial sales manager Arthur turned to Long Lost Family for help, telling the show this was his only hope. 

Arthur has been given up at birth and has few memories of his life before being adopted by Beatrice and Robert Fitzharris, who provided him with a happy childhood.


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“My parents were fantastic, and I never wanted for anything,” he said.

“I was so content and happy with them that the subject of my own adoption never arose.

“As far as I was concerned, they were my parents.”

However, as a parent and grandparent, Arthur eventually decided he wanted to know where he came from, and he spent decades searching for information about the first five years of his life. 

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He requested a copy of his adoption file, but he was only given a summary. It revealed that after he was born in Dublin in the late 1940s, Arthur was immediately placed in the care of foster parents on the Isle of Man by the Catholic church. 

The church gave him a false identity at birth, as the foster parents were put on his birth certificate, rather than his biological mother. When his foster parents discovered the truth, they notified the police and Arthur was eventually returned to Ireland. 

“The adoptive parents were named falsely on the birth certificate and it was a criminal offence,” confirmed one of the experts on the show. 

He spent a year in an orphanage called Temple Hill. “Run by nuns, it was part of a network of Catholic institutions which processed children of unmarried mothers,” Davina explained. 

Arthur was one of nearly 60,000 children to pass through such institutions between 1922 and 1998. 

Arthur had previously reached out to the orphanage, hoping they could provide him with some information about where he came from. 

“I would have thought they would have had a lot more information, and it became very, very frustrating,” he recalled.

It was a difficult ordeal for Arthur, who fought back tears as he said, “I just felt that children weren’t … treated the way they should have been treated.”

Happily, the Long Lost Family team was able to help him. Thanks to social worker Ariel Bruce, Arthur was able to track down the families of the people he believes to be his parents. 

“It meant the world to me that I’m getting closure on who I am,” Arthur said after meeting with her. 

Although his parentage hasn’t been 100% confirmed, he was able to visit the grave of the man who they suspect is his father, while he met with some cousins on his mother’s side. 

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“It’s so heartening to know that from this day onward I have that information about who my mother was,” Arthur concluded.

Long Lost Family airs on Mondays at 9pm on ITV1 and is streaming on ITVX.

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